HIALEAH, Fla. – Tens of thousands of children and their parents have more choices for their education after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill into law.
The new law expands access to school vouchers.
DeSantis signed the bill on Tuesday in Hialeah.
Florida lawmakers have been expanding choice for a decade. This new law is the largest expansion ever. And the blowback was immediate from the public school world.
The newly expanded family empowerment scholarships are funded by public money and direct to parents, who use it at their schools of choice.
“This is public money, scholarship money, not going to any particular institution,” DeSantis said. “It’s going to the parents.”
More families making up to $99,000 a year can afford private school if they choose.
The new law raises the max on each voucher, to pay full tuition, supplies, transportation, electronics and other necessities, and therapies for those with special needs.
The law has unanimous support from Florida Republicans behind choice expansion for a decade, and five Democrats, Rep James Bush from Opa-locka is one.
“It’s a benefit for parents to have the ability to be addressing their specific needs,” Bush said.
The backlash was immediate from public school world, which has accused the state of underfunding public schools for a decade.
“It is money that is siphoned, it is taken out of our public tax dollars, sent to for-profit private institutions that are unaccountable,” said Karla Hernandez Matz, President of United Teachers of Miami-Dade.
The new law signed Tuesday goes into effect on July 1, in time for the next school year.